...curious syntax and miscellaneous crimes against grammar
Given the enormity of the playing field, it feels both daunting and exhilarating to be embarking on a venture of my own design for the second time in my career. After birthing and running a company for over 6 years, then letting it go, I honestly wasn’t sure I'd ever find another opportunity I could wholly commit to.
This time around however, I’m motivated not only because I have an amazing set of business partners, but because the problem that we’re setting out to help solve has become one of the most important issues facing the whole of modern society.
How to successfully manage your digital identity.
It sounds so ‘American' doesn’t it. But it’s not. Far from being contained by geographic boundaries or patriotic rhetoric, the tangled web of contemporary identity has little respect for nationalism. It is a world wide web. Through the unfettered dissemination of personal data, individuality itself has become globalised. Intrinsically connected to culturally agnostic 'smart environments', we are forced to reassess our sense of self.
By and large I consider myself a pretty open character. I was uncomfortable though, each time my wife and I voluntarily shared our children's personal data, signing up for the the try-before you-buy samples in the Bounty Health Network newborn pack, at the bedside on the ward in the hospital when our little ones had just arrived. Franky I was astounded that the Bounty Health Network even knew we existed but when the kindly nurse-esq rep produced Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs child benefit form alongside the freebies, how could we say no? The children were barely one day old.
Talk about right message, right time, right place!
More recently our eldest, now 6, asked me if she could jump online to update her avatar on the Class Dojo, the web app used by her school to communicate with both pupils and parents. When I asked why, I was treated to a pre-teenage, “I’m so hard done by”, list of all the amazing features her friends had managed to add to their avatars. In contrast my early insecurities were very much face-to-face, based predominantly around my national health specs. Had I had to grapple with my virtual avatar I dread to think of the ensuing ‘trolling' and the impression it might have left. At just 6 years old my daughter is already becoming defined by her online identity, rather than her identity online. That's scary.
As I proposed to the audience at the Digital Catapult Centre last week, where we announced Enable iD, whilst the technology will change, in order for our children to keep up with and make good on Moore’s Law (the widely cited observation that computing power doubles approximately every two years), it is essential that we strive to create an ethical and sustainable framework for people to understand and manage their digital identity with confidence. If we can do that I believe we can give our children a head-start in shaping their futures. Circumstance notwithstanding, this is something I'm convinced by, and a challenge I'm thrilled to get the chance to help address.
You can register to find out more about Enable iD at http://enableid.com
Here’s a short press release about the new venture:
UK Start-up Takes Personal Data HAT Stand
Enable iD is a new joint venture between Stratford-upon-Avon based software development house, Enable International, Sunday Times TopTrack 250 chief exec., Denys C. Shortt OBE and marketing technology specialist, Chris Thompson.
The company will serve manufacturers, brands and organisations, with a focus on creating and connecting ‘smart environments’ that enable individuals to own and effectively trade personal data, in return for a range of lifestyle benefits. Thompson, who will head up Enable iD, cites a singular mission, "To create value by enabling people to securely capture, combine and control their data."
Alongside its launch announcement at London’s Digital Catapult Centre, Enable iD outlined a mobility-focused initiative in partnership with Centro, Greater Birmingham’s Integrated Transport Authority. Chris Perry, Centro’s Head of Smarter Travel explained, “The proposed pilot is an extension of our Centro’s 'New Journey' initiative, engaging a whole range of public and private sector bodies in improving the experience of navigating the region. We see the secure management of peoples journey data as a key element in creating truly passenger-centric smart cities.”
Enable iD’s technical architecture and commercial model are built on the HAT (Hub of All Things). The HAT is a framework for a market-led personal data marketplace, based on research and development from leading UK universities, led by the International Institute for Product and Service Innovation (IIPSI). Enable iD will be the first licensed provider of HAT enabled products and services in the EU. IIPSI Director, Professor Irene Ng said, “It’s brilliant to see the personal data economy brought to life through new ventures like Enable iD. IIPSI has been instrumental in bringing together the respective partners, who have shown unrivalled conviction in realising a sustainable commercial model based on the core principals of the HAT.”
Denys Shortt OBE commented, “We intend to manage the growth of Enable iD around key market opportunities. The team has fully customisable own-brand consumer applications, platform interfaces, developer and business community support all in the pipeline. There is huge untapped value to be gained by everyone through the capture and secure management of our data.”
About Enable International
Formed in 2000 by Denys C. Shortt and Managing Director Andrew Butt, Enable International (AKA Enable Software) designs, builds and supports bespoke web software and mobile apps with a permanently employed UK-based team in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Centro is the Integrated Transport Authority for the West Midlands. Its aim is to create a world-class public transport network delivered by a best in class organisation.
Centro works to ensure everyone benefits from an effective transport system that meets the economic and environmental needs of the region, as well as providing access to jobs, finding innovative ways to help reduce congestion and offering seamless connections for people and goods to home and overseas markets.
Centro delivers in a complex and dynamic environment, from national transport policy to cleaning bus shelters, and working with key stakeholders. This means partnership, professionalism and excellence in everything it does.
The International Institute for Product and Service Innovation (IIPSI) is a dedicated facility to support West Midlands SMEs access world-leading technology to develop leading, innovative products and services. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the University of Warwick.
About Denys C. Shortt OBE
Denys is founder and CEO of DCS Group (UK) Ltd (formerly DCS Europe plc).
DCS is a seller and distributor of health, beauty and household brands working through a number of subsidiary companies and based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England.
DCS Group UK Ltd has its own brands of beauty products, Enliven and Natural Elements. The brands are exported to 70 countries worldwide. In 2014 DCS was named as a Sunday Times TopTrack 250 Company for the second year running.
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